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Offline Asid

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Strategic Command WWII: War in Europe - Review
« on: November 30, 2016, 03:53:49 PM »

Tuesday, November 29, 2016
By: JC
Strategic Command WWII: War in Europe - Review

It's simple but deep. It is a game for the 21st century but designed with solid, good, old principles. Its gameplay flows unrestricted, seamlessly across several strategic aspects but invites and rewards a deep exploration of many factors involved in waging a global scale war. It's hex-based but devoid of many board games' antics.

Fury Software has been around since 2002, pursuing perfection through many iterations of its Strategic Command signature game. This review is for their latest and best, Strategic Command WWII: War in Europe (SCWE from here).

Technical specifications
   Published by Matrix/Slitherine
   USD $39.99 Digital Download (Physical Copies and Printed Manual Available)
   Turn based, seasonal turn lengths are set by default to one week in Summer, two weeks in Spring and Fall, and four weeks in Winter
   Map covers Europe, Western Asia (for Eurasia it covers west to the city of Sverdlovsk, Turkey, modern day Iran and Iraq, the Persian Gulf down to the Gulf of Oman), the northern portion of Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, and Eastern North America (Canada and the US, to an imaginary line passing through the city of Pittsburg),
   Each hex represents approximately 30 miles
   Land units represent Headquarters, Armies, Corps (including mechanized ones), some Divisions and Brigades, Special Forces, Engineers, Paratroopers, Cavalry (Brigades, Divisions and Corps), Static Defensive Positions, Anti-Aircraft Units, Rocket Artillery, Heavy Artillery, Partisans, Light/Medium/Heavy Tank Units (Divisions and Corps from what I saw in-game), Armored Trains and more.
   Air units represent air fleets of tactical/strategic (medium, strategic and maritime) bombers and fighters.
   Naval units are flotillas and fleets: combat and support vessels grouped around a capital ship.
   Playable as Axis (Italy and Germany) or Allies (UK, France, US, Poland and the Soviet Union). Play as each country or as the whole side.
   Campaign and Map editor included.
   Campaigns included in the release version:
o   1939 Storm Over Europe
o   1940 Attack on the West
o   1941 Barbarossa
o   1942 Case Blue
o   1943 Operation Citadel
o   1944 D-Day to Berlin
   Multiplayer capabilities will be added immediately after release. Multiplayer not tested for this review.
   Play against the computer available
   Scalable difficulty levels in solo mode

SCWE is a military grand strategy game in which the player takes his nation (or alliance) through WWII. Of the traditional ten elements of military strategic planning, SCWE clips out from the player deciding what is the national interest, identifying national threats, the formulation of domestic and foreign policies. As a player of SCWE, the player will find himself always at a state of war or very close to it. This means there are no scenarios in which the player can build up an economy, gear up for war over a period of several years or try to settle for peace. There are diplomatic options, but these are limited to skewing minor nations into your side and declaring war on minor countries. So, keep in mind that SCWE is a game about grand strategy with a sharp focus on nations are already at war.

The player's task a strategy for the conduct of war. That involves choosing the military objectives and adapting his strategy by assessing/purchasing the required resources and evaluating the risks to achieve those objectives. One could say that the capture of the enemy's capital is just THE military objective (achieving this objective will usually lead to a national morale collapse so severe that the enemy nation will surrender), but the centers of gravity of nations are  more nuanced in SCWE. The most clear example showing this is what to do as the Germans in the Barbarossa scenario: push to Moscow in procurement of political fallout or starve the USSR of military resources and morale by attrition/seizing its industrial hubs and cities? Neither are easy in the game, but so was in real life.

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